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Contactless cards enable payment transactions to be performed by placing the card near a point of sale (POS) terminal prepared to receive contactless payments.
Cards and POS prepared to make payments using contactless technology are identified by the following symbol:
This technology can be incorporated into payment cards (debit, credit and prepaid) and made available on mobile devices, namely on smartphones.
Contactless technology is activated immediately after the first use of the card at an ATM or by making a first payment at a POS, upon entering the PIN (personal identification number) associated with the card.
Holders of cards with contactless technology do not need to enter their PIN to perform payment operations; all they need to do is to place the card near the POS.
As a safety measure, the card issuer establishes the maximum amount allowed for each contactless payment and the overall amount, or the maximum number of successive contactless transactions, without inserting the card PIN. These limits, as well as the remaining conditions of use of the contactless card, must be communicated to the cardholder by the card issuer.
In most cases, the holder of a contactless card can make the contactless payment without entering the PIN of the card if the value of the transaction is less than 20 euros and if the total value of 60 euros has not yet been reached.
Once these limits are exceeded, the holder can only make contactless payments again without entering the PIN after performing a new operation (POS or ATM) where the PIN is entered.
Occasionally, and as an additional security measure, you may be asked to enter the card PIN in random contactless transactions, even if the maximum limits defined for its use through contactless technology are respected.
Holders can also perform contactless payment transactions of an amount greater than the maximum amount defined for transactions without a PIN, but in this case they must always enter the card PIN.
Cards with contactless technology can also be used to make payments without using this technology, namely in POS that are not prepared to receive contactless payments. In this case, the card must necessarily be entered in the POS and the holder must enter the card PIN to validate the operation.
Banco de Portugal’s website – Cards
Circular Letter No. 68/2015/DSC (only in Portuguese)
Cards – What they are and types of cards
Cards – How to enter into a payment card contract
Cards – Rights and duties
Cards – Precautions when using cards